Your new feel good music

It’s no secret that I’m a touch sentimental.

And by “a touch,” I mean it in the way that grass is a touch green and the sky is a touch blue.

I loved college – I went to the exact right school for me. It was the first time in my life that I ever felt like I “fit” somewhere. So the music I listened to while I was there has a lot of memories tied to it.

Jackopierce was one of the first bands I discovered in school (thank you, Aware Records), and I listened to them incessantly. They even came and played a show on campus (saying something…it was a very small school) my senior year. Anytime I hear their songs, I’m transported back to that time of my life, and it makes me heart-happy.

The JP fellas released a new album last week and it is classic JP, ripe for summer listening. Like endless belly laughs, beers on the beach, no work for a few days, windows down, sunshine on your face happy. And it’s aptly named Feel This Good. 

So…I just wanted to share it with everyone. Because we all need a little more happy in our lives these days, right? Go check it out.

Spotify | Apple | Amazon


Memories: My First Rock Boat Moments

Last night, I found myself at Target in the “travel size” aisle, which can only mean one thing: THE ROCK BOAT IS NEAR!!  With just about 75 days to go until TRB14, I am in two states of mind:  1)  Sheer panic that I haven’t gotten back on that work out train that I promised myself that I would this year so I will love myself in pictures and 2) Utterly excited for what is always the best week of my year.

I went on my first Rock Boat in 2003 with a group of 10 friends that have these days scattered due to marriage, kids, and life.  Anyway, I had no idea then that The Rock Boat and the community that surrounds it would ten years later be the source of my favorite memories, turn me on to ridiculously good music, introduce me to people all around the world who have become my best friends, and ignite a passion for “discovering” and helping to promote unknown bands.

There’s a lot I remember about my first Rock Boat, but there are two vivid music memories that today I would call “Rock Boat Moments.”  The kind of moment that is so awesome that everything else around you goes quiet.  When you catch yourself holding your breath because you literally forgot to breathe.  So because it’s almost Christmas and you can never have enough nostalgia (and for Miranda, who I am trying to convince to come on her first Boat)… My first Rock Boat moments.

1)  Meeting Cary Pierce from Jackopierce.
Backstory: It was 1993.  I was a freshmen in college and being exposed to all kinds of new stuff after living a relatively sheltered first 18 years. I bought the very first AWARE compilation from the campus bookstore, and Jackopierce’s “Vineyard” was track 3. My obsession with the song was instantaneous – the hopeless romantic in me pictured falling in love with a boy during a summer romance and having him chase me until I agreed to stay on the Vineyard for the year with him (ironically, the first boy I met at WC, who ended up becoming a very good friend, had a summer house on The Vineyard).

Ten years later, I find myself on The Rock Boat, where Cary Pierce, one half of Jackopierce, is playing. I’d seen Jackopierce a few times, but never in a million years did I think I would ever MEET them.  I’d met an amazing couple at The Rock Boat pre-party the night before, and we went to see Alex Woodard play within a few hours of getting on the Boat.  While we were sitting at the show waiting for it to start, Cary walked right in front of

me.  I mean five feet from me.  I gasped as he walked by, and Gina looked at me and said, ‘What?”  I said, “That was Cary Pierce!”  She asked who he was, and I gave her the short version of what I just said above.  So she goes, “Well, you have to meet him then!”  and leapt out of the booth to chase him down.  The next thing I knew, Cary freaking Pierce was standing in front of me.  “Hi, I’m Cary,” he says.  And me, ever brilliant…. “I know.”  Anyway, he was a complete sweetheart and asked if I wanted to take a picture.  I just nodded.  And here it is…

Me and Cary Pierce, The Rock Boat, 2003.

Me with Cary Pierce, The Rock Boat, 2003.

I love this picture for so many reasons.  First of all, it was probably my very first “personal” Rock Boat moment. Secondly, Cary is just the most adorable thing ever.  Thirdly, I look like a 5 year-old on Christmas morning. Could I be cheesing any harder? Look at the way I’m holding my hands together!  And finally…I was SOOO skinny, and I LOVED those pants.

2) The Edwin sings in the casino at 3 AM moment. No, really.  It was 3 AM.  This will make sense to some of you.
Backstory:  The summer after my sophomore year in college, Rob made me a tape of a band he said was going to be huge.  They were called Hootie and the Blowfish.  By the third week of my junior year, I’m pretty sure the girls on the hall were considering evicting me from the dorm because I played “Let Her Cry” approximately 50 times a day.  I set about learning everything about them… which led to Edwin. And a new obsession was born. After I moved to North Carolina in 1998, it became pretty easy to see Edwin regularly, and he rocketed into my Top 10 musicians of all time.

So, two days in on the Boat, I’d met a fella (we’re still friends today!), and we’d spent the better part of the evening sitting in the back at a few shows … and we ended up in one of the dining rooms eating pizza at 2:30 in the morning (Emerson Hart sat two tables over from us…I lost my shit) before we parted ways.  As I tipsily walked my way back toward my cabin, I was coming down a hall when I heard a very familiar voice singing… It was 3 AM, and I came around the corner and ran smack into Edwin McCain playing with another musician (Francisco Vidal, for all my TRB folks reading this) in the casino bar.  There might have been 20 people watching him.  I stood there, transfixed, watching this performer whose songs I knew inside out, sing to me and a handful of other people like we were the only people in all the world.  He was clearly having a blast, and while he has probably had many more nights like it in his time, it is a moment that I will never forget, and one that will always live in my best memories.  Edwin’s back on The Rock Boat this year… can’t wait!

There really is nothing like The Rock Boat.  Sixthman, the company that started The Boat almost 14 years ago, has created an experience that is truly unmatched. I go on this trip, and just know that these types of moments are going to happen…not just once, or twice, but over and over again. Because it’s happened year after year for me. Writing out these memories that live in my head only makes me all the more excited about heading back out on the high seas with great music and great friends … and more Rock Boat moments.

More Rock Boat:  What the heck is The Rock Boat? | Okay, so what bands are playing this year? | Damn, I need to book a cabin.

Ahh, Summer … New Music Abounds

In my opinion, there is no better season than summer…I love it.  It’s the season of drinks on the patio with friends, beach trips with my Mom, sailing with my Dad, and long, sticky days by the pool. Bring on 90 degree temps and 100% humidity, and I am a happy, happy girl!  It’s also the season of my birthday, and birthdays are a big deal to me, so … that could explain it.

This year, it seems there’s also a TON of great new music being released just in time to help celebrate my favorite season…and to be honest, this post is just as much to help me remember release dates as it is to spread the word about these phenomenal artists.  Be sure to mark your calendars to pick up these sure-to-be-fab releases!  I’ll keep updating this post as new releases get announced and pre-order or purchase information becomes available.

  • June 4 – Quiet Hounds – Megaphona (download free here | purchase on iTunes)
    My love for this artistic and masked quintet from Atlanta is well documented (see posts below.  This exceptional EP is full of lush guitar, dreamy songwriting, and even, yes, a megaphone (and perhaps a garage door?).  Check it out.  It’s free.  You have nothing to lose.
  • June 5 – The Rocketboys – Build Anyway (purchase on iTunes | Amazon)
    Great rock n’ roll from Austin, Texas with strong songwriting to back it up.  Brandon Kinder’s voice is golden, and he’s got a revamped band line up that has produced a really put-together record.
  • June 12 – The Constellations – Do It For Free (preorder on iTunes)
    Atlanta’s funkiest band, The Constellations will not let us down with this record – it will be one dance and sweat to (and that’s however you choose to sweat – running, dancing or otherwise engaged, if you catch my drift).  You can catch them on this summer’s Warped Tour.
  • June 12 – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – The Lion, The Beast & The Beat (preorder on iTunes or Amazon (CD only) | Stream on the band’s Facebook page)
    My favorite sultry songstress, I’m pretty sure that Grace Potter could sing the phone book and I’d love it.  Her smoky voice and high-energy live show are enough to make everyone love her – guys want to be with her and girls want to be her.  Her band is no joke, either…although the new bass player has yet to pass my test!
  • June 19 – Walk the Moon – Walk the Moon (no preorder yet available)
    High-energy indie pop, this way-too-skinny group of hipsters got me grooving last summer with their song “Anna Sun”…and it’s now all the rage.  In fact, you can’t even buy their previous album online anymore!  Watch for them to hit it big this summer….
  • June 26 – Mieka Pauley – The Science of Making Choices (no preorder yet available)
    Probably my favorite female artist ever, Mieka is one of the sharpest songwriters around.  With her sassy Yankee attitude, unique style and straightforward demeanor, she writes incredibly truthful songs that are heartbreaking, edgy, angry and fun.
  • June 26 – Cory Chisel & The Wandering Sons – Old Believers (no preorder yet available)
    I’ve got to admit, this is probably one of the releases I’m most excited for.  Cory Chisel & The Wandering Sons debut album, Death Won’t Send A Letter, was pure genius (and so critially underratted).  With his gravelly voice and bluesy Americana that is reminiscent of the best 60s and 70s folk songwriters, this Wisconsin-ite will make me a believer ANY day of the week.  You can pick up the first single, “I’ve Been Accused” already on iTunes.
  • July 3 – Jeremy Fisher – Mint Juleps (Pre-order hard copy or preview on Amazon)
    This Canadian songster won me over back in ’07 with his Goodbye Blue Monday album and catchy songs like “Jolene” and “Cigarette.”  He went a little more indie with his follow up release, but word on the street is that this new album hearkens back to his “folk roots.”  I’m pretty excited to hear it!
  • July 10 – Brendan James – Hope in Transition (Preorder hard copy CD here)
    When my bestie Christy – and the woman I have dubbed my “music dealer” – fell in love a few years ago, she grew a soft spot for romantic singer-songwriters. Having always had the penchant for them myself, it wasn’t long before she’d turned me on to Brendan’s music.  After seeing him live, I was a convert – what a talented fellow!  One listen to the whimsical “Anything for You” off his latest self-titled album and you’ll be in love, too.  (Thanks to Robin for the reminder about his new release!)
  • July 24 – The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten (Preorder packages here)
    The modern day answer to punk-infused rock n’ roll, these Jersey boys stole my heart a few years ago with their guitar-heavy sound.  I was late on the train getting switched on to them, but I tell ya what…when Bruce Springsteen gives a band a nod, I will listen.  Next generation of Jersey awesome… And if the lead single, “45” is any hint at what’s to come, Handwritten promises to be worthy of The Boss’s approval!
  • August 28 – Jackopierce – Everywhere All the Time (preview available on Noisetrade)
    If there was a band that defined college for me, it was Jackopierce.  They were probably the first “non-mainstream” band that I fell for, and any time I hear Cary and Jack’s voices, I swear I smell Chestertown and I can’t help but smile.  Emotionally-charged, pretty pop-rock songs.  Cannot wait for this new record!
  • September 4 – Matchbox 20 – North (no preorder yet available)
    First new material in 10 years from a band that was a staple in my life through most of my 20s.  Can you say “excited?”
  • September 4 – Imagine Dragons – Night Visions – (no preorder yet available)  High-energy, original, and fun as all get out.  But they’re from Vegas, so I guess we should expect that!  Imagine Dragons was all over my Best of 2011 list, and I predicted they were gonna be huge…mark my words…huge!

What new music are you guys and gals looking forward to downloading/buying this summer?